MBE for Helen Rodd: Visionary dentist who put the voice of the child at the heart of research
Professor Helen Rodd, a consultant in paediatric dentistry at the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her commitment to putting the needs of children at the heart of oral health research, and for her services to NHS dentistry.
If the voice of the child is now routinely heard in the planning and delivery of UK children’s dental services, it is undoubtedly down to Helen’s leadership. She has changed the culture of research in this area, prioritising the child’s perspective and experience. Through her commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, and specialist clinical training, Helen has mentored and enthused thousands of oral health professionals.
A graduate of Bristol University (BDS Hons 1988), Helen joined Sheffield University as a clinical lecturer in 1992. Ironically for someone whose research is so patient-centred, her early research years were entirely laboratory-based. Her 2000 PhD thesis (Immunocytochemical investigation of caries-induced neural, vascular and leucocyte responses in human primary and permanent tooth pulp) studied the markers of pain and inflammation in extracted primary and permanent teeth. This body of work was pivotal in demonstrating that primary teeth have similar pain receptors to permanent teeth, challenging the misconception that local anaesthetic was not necessary when drilling primary teeth.